Singapore and Sweden: a brief literature review
As the directory obtained from the Swedish Trade Council might indicate (Appendix A), there is a vast amount of Swedish organisations or Swedish related organisations based in Singapore. With Singapore's unique geographical location and of it being a harbour city where goods from Europe can be exported through the port of Singapore to cover Southeast Asia, Japan and Australia, Singapore's rich situations where intercultural communication in international businesses takes place, is interesting in itself to explore and study.
In 1999, Sweden spent EUR 87 million on imports from Singapore and had EUR 446 million on exports to Singapore (European Union Trade Statistics, 1999), which lends an idea of the role Singapore plays in relation to trade and business relations with Europe and not just Sweden alone.
Currently, there are four Swedish organisations in Singapore and about more than fifty listed Swedish related companies with their offices (or regional headoffices) in Singapore including Ericsson, Volvo and Ikea. The Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB Southeast Asia) Ltd also has its Southeast Asian regional headquarters located in Singapore (Exportrådet, Swedish Trade Council, 2002). Yet fewer studies in the field of intercultural communication and trade relations between these two parts of the world (Scandinavia / Nordic-Asia) have been done as compared to Japan-US relations or China-US relations.
Singapore's relations with Europe have also been given a boost by its participation in ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting). Proposed by Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong in 1994, ASEM heralds a new Asia-Europe partnership where member states promote links between political leaders, officials, business entities and engagement between the civil societies of the two regions. ASEM has established the Asia-Europe Foundation to promote "better mutual understanding between Asia and Europe through greater intellectual, cultural and people-to-people exchanges." (ASEM, 2002). The 24 ASEM countries include Austria, Belgium, Brunei, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Netherlands, Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, United Kingdom, Vietnam.
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